In a recent executive order, US President Donald Trump ordered his cabinet secretaries to suggest reforms to the H-1B visa program to help ensure that “H-1B visas are awarded to the most-skilled or highest-paid petition beneficiaries.” While the executive order does not include any specific reform proposals for the H-1B program, remarks by an administration official suggest that reform efforts will focus on preventing foreign workers from undercutting American labor at less cost, which the official characterized as “abuse” of the system.
As we noted in a recent LawFlash, US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced on April 7 that it had reached the congressionally mandated 65,000 visa H-1B cap for fiscal year 2018 (FY 2018), and had also received a sufficient number of H-1B petitions to meet the 20,000 visa cap for the US advanced degree exemption. The total number of FY 2018 petitions the agency had received was 199,000, a significant reduction from previous years. This year, as in past years, USCIS used a computer-generated random selection process, or lottery, to select enough petitions for processing to meet the visa caps.
Immigration-related developments under the Trump administration will bring challenges to technology industry employers, but could bring new opportunities as well. In an upcoming webinar, Immigration Under the New Administration: How Tech Can Prepare for the Challenges Ahead, Washington, DC partners Eleanor Pelta and Eric Bord will discuss recent executive orders, the current travel environment, and developments related to visa adjudication and visa issuance—focusing on visa categories common in the tech industry and the impact on traveling scientific and technological staff.
Register for the upcoming webinar.